"Thus says the Lord;
Stand beside the earliest roads;
Ask the pathways of old which is the way to good, and walk it;
Thus you will find rest for your souls."
The spread of Christianity in Cyprus only a few years after the crucifixion of Jesus is not only due to the island’s proximity to Palestine, but also to the flight of Christians after the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. However, the main reason was because of the arrival of the Apostle Paul and of Barnabas, himself a Cypriot, in the year 45 AD.
Destinations in France offer pilgrims an extraordinarily rich religious, historical, cultural and architectural heritage to discover. France, sometimes referred to as the “eldest daughter of the Church” was the first of the countries established after the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 to become Christian and Catholic.
Many religious pilgrims visit Greece because St. Paul came to Greece, preaching the Holy Gospel and teaching people about Jesus. In addition, the monuments of Greece include churches and monasteries, many dating back to the early centuries of Christianity and containing impressive mosaics and rare murals and icons.
Catholicism has had a long history in Ireland. St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, helped to convert the country to Christianity in the fifth century. Monasteries, which became centers of learning and manuscript illumination, were founded throughout the land; and traces of this time of saints and scholars can still be seen in Ireland today.
The Holy Land has been a land of great importance to the three major religions around the world and a meeting point for diverse cultures since prehistoric times. For Christians, this land is considered holy because of its association with the birth, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. In The Holy Land pilgrims walk in His footsteps.
The story of Christianity’s rise to prominence in Italy and throughout Europe is a remarkable one. Because of its important religious history, Italy is home to some of the world's most prominent religious sites. It has always been a pilgrimage destination for those who have make their faith a way of life.
Connections to both the Old Testament and the New Testament exist in Jordan. It was in Jordan where Jacob wrestled with the Angel of God, where Job suffered and where Elijah ascended to heaven. It is the place where Moses led the Israelites on their flight from Egypt to the Holy Land and where Jesus was baptized by John.
Christianity in Malta dates back to 60 AD when St Paul was shipwrecked on his way to Rome. During his three month stay, Paul was bitten by a snake and not harmed, which caused people to regard him as a god. Paul's steps can be retraced in the shrines, grottos and catacombs of Rabat and in the ancient city of Mdina.
Pilgrims who visit Poland are privileged to not only visit its historical Christian monuments and its beautiful churches, but also have a chance to observe faith still alive in the hearts of its people. Since the year 966 the Catholic Church has played an important religious, cultural and political role in the lives of the Polish people.
Portugal lies on the Iberian peninsula at the southwestern tip of Europe. It is home to Fátima, one of the most important pilgrimage centers for the Catholic world. Fatima's fame is due to the Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary to three shepherd children:Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta.
St. Paul and St. James. the apostle, are credited with bringing Christianity to Spain early in the first century. Pilgrims will find many important religious sites there. One can follow the Way of Saint James on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, participate in religious festivals or visit important monasteries, churches and shrines.
Today Christians are a small minority in Turkey, with more than 97% of the population being Muslim. However, Turkey was the setting for some of the most important happenings in the history of Christianity from its earliest beginnings. Here pilgrims can gain understanding of Biblical history and inspiration for their lives of faith.